What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is serious no matter what form it takes. Tragically, it can prove dangerous or even deadly for nursing home residents. Elder Abuse in Residential Long-Term Care Settings reports nursing home abuse includes:
- Intentional mistreatment
- Forced resident restraint
- Physical or verbal intimidation
- Restricted food and beverages
- Intentional mental or emotional distress
- Physical abuse including striking or shoving
- Forced or unwanted sexual contact
- Withholding medication or overmedicating
- Deliberate harassment or humiliation
If your elderly loved one was the victim of one or more of these acts, they are the victim of what is considered nursing home abuse and have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for their abusive actions.
Nursing Home Abuse Causes Lasting Harm
Recovering from nursing home abuse takes a physical and financial toll on elderly men and women. Many of the physical injuries will respond to medical treatment over time. As presented by the National Institute on Aging, nursing home abuse can also take an emotional toll on its victims. The emotional scars left by such abuse can last even longer than the physical symptoms of injury and can even be permanent. Abuse victims are prone to feelings of mistrust, persistent apprehension and anxiety, and lingering fear and depression.
For many of its victims, nursing home abuse might lead to an impaired or diminished physical and emotional quality of life in more ways than one. In some cases, victims of nursing home abuse might experience self-blame or self-doubt. You should consider seeking mental and emotional counseling to help your elderly loved one cope with the repercussions of recovering from an abusive living situation.
Recognize the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
When you visit an elderly member of your family in a nursing home, you might spend time talking to them, engaging them in fun activities, and checking with the staff on their medication needs and other medical care. While you are enjoying time spent with your loved one, be on the lookout for potential signs of what could be considered nursing home abuse, including:
- A sudden change in sleep patterns
- New or worsened depression
- Unexpected and unexplained weight loss
- Sudden fearfulness or agitation
- Mysterious bruises or bedsores
- Unsanitary physical condition
Seek immediate medical care and legal help for your loved one if you notice any of these signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse.
Your Elderly Relative Has a Right to Fair Treatment
Nursing home abuse is a serious issue and a serious threat to the health and safety of some of the most vulnerable citizens. Many of the senior citizens who reside in nursing homes are unable to care for themselves and rely on others to treat them with kindness and respect. Accordingly, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid has established resident rights and protections that include such things as:
- Being treated with dignity and respect and allowed to make decisions for themselves as much as they are able
- Being treated fairly without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, or religion
- Being free from all forms of physical restraint and physical, mental, or emotional neglect
- Getting medical care and prescribed medications as ordered and needed
- Having family and friends actively involved in their care and safety
- Being allowed to complain about improper or unfair treatment or neglect
Your loved one has rights, including the right to maintain control of their finances and to have visitors who are able to monitor their treatment. Such visits can be an important step in preventing nursing home abuse.
Limit Your Loved One’s Risk of Nursing Home Abuse
The decision to place your loved one in a nursing home is often a difficult one. Learning that your loved one has been abused or mistreated has the potential to take a financial and emotional toll on your entire family. You should consider taking steps to limit your loved one’s risk of being abused in a nursing home setting.
- Carefully vet every potential nursing home you are considering
- Make regular and unscheduled visits to your loved one
- Take periodic photos of your loved one and their physical condition
In addition to these risk factors, residents with dementia and other mental impairments might be at increased risk. If your elderly family member is at risk of being abused or if you suspect abuse, take action to move them to a safe location as soon as possible.
Get Financial Compensation for Your Elderly Loved One
Do not let your loved one’s nursing home abuse go unchallenged. You are entitled to hold the responsible party financially accountable for their negligent or abusive actions. Call for a free consultation and a discussion on the potential damages you might be able to recover for your elderly family member.
We are passionate advocates for senior citizens injured or abused in nursing homes. If your loved one was one of these victims, do not hesitate to call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. at (516) 932-0400 to speak to a lawyer near you today.